How a Young Baker’s Dreams and Perseverance Gave Her the Recipe for Success

Ellora Martinez has taught us that we have the power to overcome any challenge presented in our lives and that we can achieve greatness if we focus on our dreams.

Kylie de Best, Editor

The Kids Baking Championship is a baking event that brings young bakers from all over America to come together and work with various ingredients to make unique desserts for a chance to win $25,000. In this months-long competition, Season 10 was held in Knoxville, Tennessee where bakers were presented with many challenges, ranging from using their creativity to create a visually-pleasing milkshake to paying attention to details when making a cake that had a surprise of zebra stripes inside. Out of all of the contestants, there was one whose passion for baking stood out from the rest, and that was Ellora Martinez. 

Ellora is a nine year old girl who attends Travis Ranch Elementary School, and not only has a love for baking, but also loves art, animals and writing. Her cute appearance and mature anecdotes captured the hearts of all who watched, and she baked impressive desserts for the judges Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman. Ever since she was little, Ellora remembers spending hours watching baking shows, having a particular interest in the Kids Baking Championship. Throughout the pandemic, she developed a hobby for baking to pass the time. With her excelling talent, she decided to pursue baking even more and create elaborate treats such as fruit tarts and macarons, eventually leading to her decision to apply to get a spot on the Kids Baking Championship.

With only a few days notice, Ellora was off to Knoxville to compete in an environment where she could further enhance and discover some more of her baking skills. When asked how she felt about the competition, Ellora says how “it was such a fun experience, and though there was a lot to be worried about, [she] wasn’t that nervous because [she] was so happy and excited to be there.”

There were many challenges presented during the competition, such as “the pressure of being under a time limit, learning time management, and figuring out how to work with ingredients and food [she] has never worked with before.” However, these were not the only challenges Ellora faced throughout the competition. There was actually something going on in her life that was significantly affecting her for a long time.

Back in 2020, Ellora started getting unusual symptoms such as intensely painful headaches and nosebleeds multiple times a week. To try and find what was wrong, Ellora was taken to a pediatrician, but they didn’t think there was anything they could do. As her condition progressed, Ellora started gaining unexplainable weight and stopped growing. Finally, her mom, Mina Gill-Martinez,  got her to an endocrinologist, and he agreed that something was wrong, but couldn’t figure out what. Mrs. Gill-Martinez further explained how they ran many tests in 2020, but the MRI was not able to find the presumed tumor. Fortunately, they got their answers at Maryland’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) in July, where they were able to complete the diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease and found the tumor on the pituitary gland. 

However, this was when Ellora was still auditioning for the show and was a finalist. Though surgery was a must in order to save her, Ellora made an impactful statement, saying “this tumor has taken so much from me, please don’t let it take away my dream of being on the show.” This emotional and heart-wrenching statement convinced her mom to not push for the surgery so quickly, and two weeks later she was selected for the show. 

Many have noticed Ellora’s intense focus on the show, and this was a result of her mom practicing breathing techniques with her to help with relaxation, focus and putting things into perspective. A reason this was emphasized is because “the tumor was also producing an excessive amount of cortisol, which includes symptoms such as stress and anxiety.” With this focus on breathing techniques, she was able to progress with her determination to not let anything stop her from trying her hardest. Two weeks later after the show ended, they flew back to the NIH in Maryland and the neurosurgeons were able to successfully remove the tumor on her pituitary gland as well as a cyst. Mrs. Gill-Martinez states “Ellora is in recovery now and doing well. We are so fortunate to have gotten to the NIH, they were amazing!”

Through all of the hardships she has gone through, Ellora created a vision board to find more positivity in her life and to keep her motivated for everything that she wants to achieve. One of the dreams that was on the board was to compete in the Kids Baking Championship, and her next goal is to write a children’s book.

“Though we may have challenges in our lives, we can overcome them and they don’t have to stop us from pursuing our dreams.

— Ellora Martinez

In the competition, Ellora found Duff and Valerie to be role models to her, as their caring personalities and love for helping people grow in their baking abilities took great admiration in her. Even though she had the tumor during the competition, she chose not to tell the producers or judges her circumstances because she wanted her baking skills to be judged honestly rather than by any pity. After the competition and recovery of her surgery, she is now ready to have her story shared to let others know that “though we may have challenges in our lives, we can overcome them and they don’t have to stop us from pursuing our dreams.” 

This young nine year old has taught the world that it is important to have a passion to be able to achieve anything. Your dreams will guide you in finding success wherever you go. During rough times in her life, she found baking as something that brings joy and a sense of stability and reassurance in her life, and she used this to find life-changing experiences. She is very grateful for this experience, as she had to accomplish a lot in order to get into the finale, and she kept her enthusiasm throughout the entirety of the show. Ellora not only impressed the judges, but impressed and inspired an entire generation of young bakers. Ellora is loved by everyone and we are so proud of her for her success. More importantly, we are happy to know that she is doing better. The wisdom we can learn from this young baker is that sometimes when life gives you lemons, you need to bake a cake.